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The Importance Gender in Marketing


The importance of researches on the motivation and behavior of consumers is known all over the world. For the last decades, within the frames of marketing, an interdisciplinary area of researches has arisen– the behavior of consumers. The main purpose of both businessmen and experts in marketing consists in affecting this behavior. As a result, the science about the consumer gets supreme importance. The behavior of the consumer is the activity aimed directly at the reception, consumption, and the arrangements of products and services, including processes of decision-making that precede these actions and follow them. In that context, this paper critically assesses marketing and consumer behavior within the frame of gender and gender symbolism, specifically related to family-oriented marketing.

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Overview of Gender

Gradually, sociology approached the comprehension of the fact that the division into men and women as of groups of individuals differing on some physiological characteristics is completely not identical to the division of social space into men’s and women’s status positions and roles.

The division into men and women is a structure set by the nature, from which two naturally conditioned status positions flow: mother and father. These positions, as well as different sexual roles, are the first division of labor programmed by the nature. Already, at the early stages of human society almost in all cultures customs of the division of clothes on men and females arise. Thus, for many people throughout centuries, trousers – strictly men’s, and a dress is strictly women’s clothing. The infringement of these rules has always caused an indignation storm and was perceived as an encroachment on morals’ bases. The children from first days of life learn to distinguish men’s and women’s consumption, first of all in clothes. Accordingly, when forming a family, in due course there are changes in family structure which lead to parents more often making common decisions. The gender belongings of various goods are gradually taking other forms. In connection with that fact, marketing experts search for new ways of representing goods through researches where “Age, income, occupation, gender, region, and ethnic affiliation are among the most typical building blocks of segmentation research.” (Applbaum 2004, p. 85) Mostly, the imagery and symbolism used in marketing are directed toward the distinctions between the ideas of masculinity and feminity. Nevertheless, the absence of specific symbols does not necessarily imply the existence of another, where the product which is not masculine does not have to be feminine.


In Bhagat and Williams, the relationships in marketing were examined based on the fact that there are gender differences in many consumer contexts. The study showed that “while both genders consider the interpersonal and social aspects as well as the structural and material aspects of a professional service, women are more likely to emphasize the former over the latter.”(Bhagat and Williams, 2008) In another study (Schertzer et al), the emphasis on the process of distinction of physiological structure of groups of individuals and the structure of social space has received expression in a scientific turn of terminological distinction. The concept of gender, as parallel to the concept of sex: “sex” is a biological term, and “gender” – from psychology and culture area. If sex designates biological division into men and women gender reflects feminity and masculinity. This study suggests that “consideration of cultural values related to masculinity/femininity can lead to significant improvements in marketing effectiveness”(Schertzer et al., 2008) A study about consumer’s gender and marketing in Japan addressing family goods presumes that not only goods, but also promotional materials, stores layouts “establish a physical reality heavily imbued with symbolic meaning and thus, “create a setting for behavior” that compels people toward certain forms of action. (Creighton 1994) The aforementioned study also states that consumerism is a gendered female construction, where the services and facilities designed for children are mother oriented, where marketing accordingly is directed toward such behaviors.

Regarding the usage of specific brand symbolism in marketing, in “A consumer culture theory approach”, the research indicated that children’s uses of brand symbols play an important role in their social relations and cultural lives where “brand symbolism is deeply gendered, operating as a key domain through which girls and boys negotiate gendered identities.”(Nairn et al., 2008) In that matter, children purchases as a family oriented market is a practical field for the implications of such findings.


The marketing strategies, as well as many other aspects in general are extremely gendered. However, this fact does not necessarily imply that symbols are apparently obvious in a way that the user is already pre-defined. Gender marketing models vary from apparent targeted consumers such as women and children goods, to models implementing complex analysis of characters and gender roles based more on social statuses, rather than on physiological differences.


  1. Applbaum, K. (2004) The Marketing Era: From Professional Practice to Global Provisioning. New York: Routledge.
  2. BHAGAT, P. S. & WILLIAMS, J. D. (2008) Understanding gender differences in professional service relationships. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 25, 16 – 22.
  3. Creighton, M.R. (1994) “Edutaining” Children: Consumer and Gender Socialization in Japanese Marketing. Ethnology, 33. NAIRN, A., GRIFFIN, C. & WICKS, P. G. (2008) Children’s use of brand symbolism: A consumer culture theory approach. European Journal of Marketing, 45, 627 – 640.
  4. SCHERTZER, S. M. B., LAUFER, D., SILVERA, D. H. & MCBRIDE, J. B. (2008) A cross-cultural validation of a gender role identity scale in marketing. International Marketing Review, 25, 312 – 323.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Importance Gender in Marketing." October 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Importance Gender in Marketing'. 24 October.

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